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British Bikers – Summer of Discontent

July 14, 2009
No to Bike Parking Charges

No to Bike Parking Charges

Cambridge, England – British bikers have flexed their protest muscles in the first weeks of July firing the Riders Rights Movement in the UK with new energy and highlighting issues of major concern to the motorcycling community.

The No To Bike Parking Fees (NTBPF) Campaign continued its fight with Westminster City Council who has announced that the bike parking fees regime will become permanent from August 8 2009. The Council is bound by law to consider last-minute written objections to the charging scheme, thus on July 1 better than 4000 bikers turned up at City Hall to register their objections to the bike parking fees regime in person. It took more than 2 hours for Council Officers to formally accept and stamp the objection forms handed in.

The announcement of permanent charging now gives NTBPF a window of opportunity to launch a full legal challenge via a Judicial Review, for which they have to raise a minimum of £50,000 to hire a Public Law specialist legal team.

The alternative of doing nothing would leave the way open for other UK Councils to start up their own versions of the Westminster charging scheme. Successfully challenging the Westminster charging scheme is thus vital. You can support the NTBPF Fighting Fund at: http://www.notobikeparkingfees.com

On July 9 more than 1000 bikers and truckers brought Britain’s Trans Pennine motorway, the M62, to a standstill in a protest against rising fuel and road tax prices.

Timed to coincide with the morning rush hour traffic tailed back past the Rochdale Junc 20 turnoff and into West Yorkshire as the stream of riders and drivers left Birch services at 8am and headed for Manchester City centre. Riding at a snail’s pace the demonstration stretched for more than a 3 miles and caused a five-mile tailback with all three lanes of the M62 left crawling behind the convoy.

July 11 saw a convoy of 200 bikers from Mid and West Wales riding to Swansea to protest at a lack of centres where riders can take the new motorcycle test. There are currently only three Welsh test centres – Bangor in Gwynedd, Swansea and Newport.

Converging at the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) in Swansea’s Fabian Way the bikers voiced their concerns to DSA officials, in particular the need for additional test centres to avoid leaving novices riders with lengthy journeys to take the exam. Indeed the  DSA’s own accessibility criteria states that test candidates should be able to reach a motorcycling test facility within 45 minutes and travel no more than 20 miles to do so. Something which seems to have been forgotten in the DSA’s rush to comply with the new European style motorcycle test.

So if there’s a protest taking place on your patch why not make the summer of 2009 a true biker protest fest and support it. See you there!

© Back Roads Rider 2009

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